Saturday, 31 March 2012
My beautiful and oh so patient wife was quicker off the mark than I was and she got to the pregnant porkers side first perched on the magic blue bucket (the one with allure) wearing wicket keepers gloves ready for piglet number two, which if anything like Mangalitza piglet births are expelled at high velocity. I, being totally practical and knowing the torch would fade to black within ten minutes abused Hazel and got her up the slope and into the Corral OK where here lights set the stage for the main show.
We waited. And waited. And then some.
Half an hour had passed, Iggle was pushing, not very well, but trying and achieving nothing. Not sure if the James Herriot books actually covered pig midwifery but assuming it had to be pretty much like sheep but with sharper teeth and less wool I put a tentative hand inside Iggles bits. A head, jaw, sharp pointy teeth, another large piglet, she pushed and I pulled and out popped an equally big piglet, not nearly so dead, a girl, but she soon gave up any attempt to stay around and be future sausages. Things were not looking great and then got a whole lot worse when piglet the third started coming out arse end first. No real problem, Google how to be birth partner to a saw and it will tell you that 40% of piglets come out rear end first and that only 1% of sows require help. Knowing full well which statistic now lay heaving at our knees we clung on to the hope that Iggle would keep calm and carry on. No such luck. Minutes became hours, she walked around, squatted, played on the big inflatable ball, we offered her a curry, all to no avail. I rather rudely copped a feel around inside and could not move piglet, I knew the theory, get the legs facing back but after half an hour of furtling around the three of us, me, Iggle and potential offspring made no progress. After an hour and a half the vet was called. Paul who was disappointed to miss the birth of Kobe the calf now had an opportunity to make up for it by helping Iggle. By the time he got here piglet had been stuck for two hours and Iggle was falling asleep. Under the headlights he set about trying to free the piglet. Hope was fading, the likelihood was that this and any remaining offspring would be still born. Fifteen minutes and a lot of grunting, not all from the pig, Paul told us he had got one leg forward, another five and the second leg, time slowed as he matched a heave to Iggles push and another large piglet joined us. It lay on the floor with the three of us watching for vital signs. It sneezed, coughed, rolled around and sprang to its feet. Not what any of us was expecting (its now called Gloria, as in I will survive) but it lifted the mood and pretty soon three more sows, all born head first, were clambering around the sty demanding breakfast.
His work done Paul had a quick look at Kobe, complimented Rock HQ on its fertility and left. I stayed in the pen until 3am as Iggle refused to sleep, being a bit sore she was still thinking that she had other piglets to come. We knew different. Finally she gave in, not before squishing a piglet but as I was there all was well.
Today the lack of sleep caught up with us all, Iggle has managed not to crush any piglets and they are a healthy happy bunch.
Thankfully the threat of rain all day was an ideal excuse not to concrete, instead we spent time playing with little t, trying to work out how to get Hazel back off the Corral OK, watching piglets and stroking the calf. There are too many time wasting opportunities here now.
Friday, 30 March 2012
Thursday, 29 March 2012
The big lummox has survived his first 24 hours, first kick from mum that sent him sprawling across the floor (but being a brave lad he got up and came back for more) and his first frost. Morning saw us geared up for a bovine bondage session to ensure Hetty stood still long enough for junior to get breakfast. As it was his first moo opened Hetty's motherly floodgate and she has fed, cleaned, stood over her charge and all is well in our world.
Junior now has a fitting name, we asked, we received, thanks Kit, the big lad is called Kobe, for obvious reasons!
Day29 30 30 lvl 10 outdoor training 11.2km (One way ticket to hell and back, The Darkness)
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
While some urgent repairs were being done to the roof of Rock HQ to make it a bit more weather proof or rather water proof Iggle really did look like she would beat Hetty to it in the birth race
After a night of us hanging over the stable door and bleary eyed three hourly checks all Hetty had managed was a monster number two which she took care of for a few hours.
The vet proved to be camera shy but once she was up to her elbows in bovine innards managed to be snapped plucking a hoof from the visceral debris
and soon our long awaited and very expensive calf was spluttering to life on the straw. The only beef that is more expensive is that Japanese stuff.
Quicker than the vet could sew up its mother the monster calf was upright and searching for food which it failed to find in Colin's crotch but it gave us all a giggle while the vet ( a really nice lady called Caroline) re plumbed Hetty.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Monday, 26 March 2012
The critters are enjoying the weather as much as we are, Mindy has been turned out with Daffodil for her first taste of grass
and the piglets are all surviving the accident waiting to happen as mum rolls over and back again. Meanwhile they excel in cuteness.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
As predicted, and lets face it it was an easy prediction, today did not pan out as planned. Aside from the fact that Hetty steadfastly refuses to jettison her cargo, lots of huffing and puffing but no beef. As we were due to head up north to visit my folks an executive decision was made that I would go with little t, have a nice lunch and head back by tea time, my beautiful and oh so patient wife meanwhile would have manned the fort and if needed played midwife to the lazy bovine. Tracey also drew the short straw and did the night shift checking on the cow as I had a long drive, it was tough but I managed to sleep soundly ready for mine and the apprentice smallholders road trip.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Friday, 23 March 2012
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Its been a gloriously sunny day again, work got in the way of some of it but I did manage a quick (my quick) circuit of the Bonsai Mountain in daylight. Visits out to the realm of Red Kite meant that the evening routine was done in the dark but as the clocks go forward this weekend this might be the last time. Mind you milking goats at half ten is probably always going to be in the dark unless we move to Scotland.
So in the glow cast by the anti aircraft light Hetty was moved from the med bay to the front stable that was housing the three massive little pigs, they are now in the med bay. Both species are awaiting life changing events. Piggle looks like she is about to burst but has remained intact. Hetty has started producing milk, so the next 24 hours may mean new life arrives naturally or via the skill of a very busy vet. New life has arrived today, one of the giant quails eggs has hatched, others are making promising noises.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
If there was a genie in the lamp the one wish I would really want granted is that Rock HQ would have a coast, and that would mean sea, and seafood. The fresh sort, the walk down to beach and forage/catch sort. Still, cant have everything and plans are afoot to go on an exped in the furthest westerly region of the Red Kite empire with an expert fisher type. Meantime at least we have a replica beach for the apprentice smallholder to play in.
So while one of us busts a gut on the exercise bike doing the 30 30 challenge, one of us gets to play and eat sand.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Monday, 19 March 2012
Sunday, 18 March 2012
Iggle and Piggle were separated from the three little (massive) pigs (without us spending hours running up and down the lane shouting at naughty porkers who wouldnt go where they were supposed to be, honest) and put in a purpose built substantially reinforced pig pen off the Corral OK where they soon made them self at home in the deep straw bed and we will have to wait and see what, if anything, happens there.
Day 18 30 30 lvl 15 endurance hill 21.6km (Buckcherry, Buckcherry)
Yes 21.6km a personal best.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Friday, 16 March 2012
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
The fog refused to shift, day three now, we know the world is out there, we just cant see it. Fetching pig feed was incident free save for the clumsy loader nearly knocking Trixie over, then almost putting the forklift forks through the side before finally dropping the pallet with 750kgs of supplies just short of the back axle making the journey home with the trailer hitch trying to point skywards an exercise in vehicle mishandling. Luckily I could communicate all sudden directional changes (both intentional and unintentional) by use of the pretty lights hanging on the back courtesy of the local pound shop who stock trailer boards. This high tech bit of kit expertly screwed into place by yours truly was probably a life saver in the fog, and as the less than expert forklift driver said "It'll keep the pigs happy" Now I'm not sure if the pigs will be happy that the trailer is now legal and super roadworthy and its almost a moot point because if all goes well they wont need to be transported in the trailer to make the trip to Mr Whirlpool, the freezer, as an assassin is supposed to visit Rock HQ very soon. Admittedly this is the third assassin we have booked, but as the saying goes "If at first you don't succeed you can always use the trailer".
Day 14 30 30 lvl 12 hill 11km (Cheap Trick, Cheap Trick)
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
I took a chance the last time with one half of one light missing, now all four are missing so no brake lights, lights or indicators. New plan, go to work, buy a trailer back board light thingamy at lunchtime, skive off early and fetch feed. Good plan. Epic fail. Lack of colleagues meant I had to stay at work actually working, chizz chizz, and then I forgot to get the trailer board (for once my beautiful and oh so patient wife's logic deserted her as she told me not to worry I could buy one from the farmers superstore where I collecting the feed from. How do I get there oh patient one I enquired. Oh yes you need the trailer board...I knew better than to gloat)and anyway the fog got worse and to cap it all Hazel was out of fuel. Tomorrow the pigs are all on Instant Energy horse food (not sure what effect it will have, something from wind to psychosis continuum) as a tide them over while the deficits in fetch pig feed plan are resolved and executed.
Day 13 30 30 lvl 14 outdoor training 13km (Ok computer, Radiohead)